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Tamasha  : It’s showtime for Nautanki
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Friday, November 27, 2015
Comedy
Imtiaz Ali
Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Javed Sheikh
Risk-taker Ranbir Kapoor dives in again, once more teaming up with dodgy filmmaker Imtiaz Ali. Imtiaz, as we all know, can swing from baffling you to dazzling you, he’s so unpredictable. Together, they’ve now made Tamasha which could well be the story of Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha or even young Ranveer Singh. Any performer who’s born a misfit in a 9-5 existence, that’s Imtiaz’s favourite protagonist anyway.

Imtiaz Ali starts off with a light romance. He gets his lead couple to playact roles without formal introductions in exotic, lively, fun Corsica. Ranbir introduces himself as Don, Deepika is Mona, Mona Darling. They make a pact to lie to each other, live it up in Corsica, kiss and leave, and never meet again. He’s the crazy guy who does a perfect take-off on Dev Anand and stands on tables to tell stories to a restaurant full of foreigners. He’s in his element, she loves his effusive happiness. They part, but she makes sure they meet again. Now he’s Product Manager Ved Sahni, a well-behaved polite young man who keeps elevator doors open for strangers trying to rush in. And she’s Tara, heading a vast, global empire.

But is Ved the man she fell in love with?      

Tamasha is the story of a kid who’d spend his money to listen to a storyteller and live in joy with his characters. A kid born to perform but expected to conform. Dad has forced him to fall in with his plans and he’s living his life roleplaying a conventional, straight-laced corporate executive. Tara won’t accept this robot, she wants the guy she met in Corsica.

Films that spotlight clashes with authoritarian figures before the ultimate self-discovery have been made before. But taking a story idea from his brother Arif Ali, Imtiaz makes one strong point: your life is your story and you alone are its writer. But he takes a circuitous route to get there which can make the journey exhausting.

The show-stealer is Ranbir Kapoor who does a smooth Dev Anand act and shakes a perfect leg to the Matargashti number before turning into a drab executive. Ranbir forces applause when he’s standing on a table to tell a story or confronting his problems before his dad. Deepika makes a wonderful foil but this is Ved’s discovery, and not Tara’s, so she doesn’t have magical moments in her role.

The child artiste in the film is an incredible match as the young Ranbir. Imtiaz’s writing and direction include fresh touches like a transvestite appearing every day at the car window signifying routine. One fine day, an unexpected gesture from Ved marks his transformation.

However, this is the kind of film critics will speak well of and the majority audience will berate for its unconventionality, length and pace. Kids coming out of the morning show on the first day were heard grumbling, “We got up early for this? So dull, yaar.”  It’s definitely not mainstream entertainment or box-office masala.

But for a film with Ranbir in top gear and a narrative which creative people will relate to, Tamasha gets a 3* rating.

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Journalist & Author


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